How to Repair Varnish on Furniture

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How to Repair Varnish on Furniture

In order for wood furniture to hold its natural look, owners must use a varnish to seal the wood and help protect it from spills and staining. The varnishing process provides an easy way to protect woodwork and owners use the technique to keep their furniture crisp and clean. Keeping a varnish finish looking good is also important, and owners can do this by removing water stains, filling in any small surface chips, and covering up any large scratches or worn edges. Other common repair jobs include removing any gouges, nicks, or burs. Furniture owners can perform these tasks with the help of some tools as well as furniture varnish, which they can find locally or on eBay.

Types of Varnish Finishes

Owners should match up the varnish currently on their furniture when making repairs. This means they might have to take extra steps after completing a repair, such as dulling the finish with sand paper to attain the look of the rest of the furniture.

Varnish Finish Type


Shellac Varnish

Alcohol-based varnish used as a sealant

Can block both stains and odours

Rubbing Varnish

Applied and then dulled with fine-grit sandpaper

Appropriate for wall panels

Flat Varnish

Easier to apply than rubbing varnish

Leaves a non-gloss finish

Owners also need to match up the colour of the varnish to ensure an invisible repair.

How to Repair Varnish on Furniture

Owners first need to determine the type of repair needed as each has a specific repair solution. Necessary repairs can include a wide range of issues, such as water stains, chips, scratches, worn areas, gouges, nicks, and burs.

Water Stains

White rings from water stains remove easily when wiped gently with a cloth dampened slightly with denatured alcohol. Make sure not to use too much alcohol, as this can dull the finish. Owners can restore the satin finish of the woodwork by rubbing paste wax into the dull area with extra-fine 0000 steel wool. To return a finish to a glossy state, apply an auto polishing compound to the affected area with a clean rag.

Shallow Chips

To fix shallow chips in the furniture's surface where the finish actually remains, use clear nail polish. Just fill the ding with the polish, wait for it to dry, and then sand the area flush using 600-grit sandpaper. To restore a satin finish, use extra-fine 0000 steel wool, paste wax, and an auto polishing compound to return the finish to a glossy state.

Large Scratches and Worn Edges

For larger scratches and worn edges, owners can use felt-tipped touch-up markers. Owners can use the markers to colour in large scratches or worn area. Owners should make sure to apply the marker only to the damaged areas. Apply a coat of paste wax over the repair and surrounding area to give the repaired area an even finish.

Gouges, Nicks, and Burs

With the right tools and a little determination, owners can repair gouges, nicks, and burs easily.

Step 1

First, owners need to remove any raised burs around the perimeter of the gouge or nick. Owners can do this by sanding the area lightly with 600-grit sandpaper.

Step 2

Next, take a wax stick that matches the colour of the wood and rub the wax over the gouge or nick until it is slightly overfilled. This could require the use of two or more wax sticks of varying colours to get the right blend to match the colour.

Step 3

Remove any excess wax with a putty knife or other straight edged object. Furniture owners can rub off any excess wax from the surrounding surface using a brown paper bag wrapped around a flat block. After removing the excess wax, apply a coat of paste wax over the whole area for an even sheen.

How to Buy Furniture Varnish on eBay

Buying furniture varnish on eBay is easy with the use of relevant keywords in the Search bar located on any eBay page of the site. Those needing help with keywords can check eBay's Search Tips page. A search pulls up relevant categories that shoppers can then narrow down to find the exact item they want. This includes varnishes for a variety of different furniture types, styles, and colours.

Repairing the varnish on a piece of wooden furniture can extend the life of the item, as well as help keep its finish looking good. This in turn can keep a room looking great, especially with matching pieces of furniture.

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